On December 19th the cameras of Telemundo and Univision were at the Adalberto United Methodist Church in Humboldt Park for a press conference led by Pastor Walter “Slim” Coleman. Last month, ICE conducted a raid at the Chicago Pallet Company wherein 34 workers were placed in ICE custody. Coleman and others organized the conference to give an update regarding those who were placed in removal proceedings (deportations). Some of those workers have been deported, taken voluntary departure, or continue to challenge their removal proceedings.
During the press conference, Pastor Coleman reiterated his call for churches around the country to open their doors to provide sanctuary to those immigrants trapped in the flawed U.S. immigration system. Pastor Coleman is on the 20th day of his hunger strike in solidarity with the Fast4Reform movement demanding the President to place a moratorium on current deportation proceedings.
About 6 or 7 workers caught in the raid, members of Centro Sin Fronteras, and our own associate attorney John R. Antia were in attendance. Shiller Preyar has been working alongside the community-based immigration organization Centro Sin Fronteras to obtain prosecutorial discretion for all of the remaining immigrants still in removal proceedings. Prosecutorial discretion is a federal policy that shifts ICE’s resources away from immigrants who have community ties, family (particularly, U.S. citizen spouses, children, and parents), no serious criminal or immigration histories, pay taxes, and so on. If immigrants in question are positively reviewed, ICE may administratively close their cases. In sum, prosecutorial discretion allows an immigration judge to close an immigrant’s case and end his or her fear of deportation.
With the help of the Shiller Preyar Law Offices, many of the pallet workers who are in removal proceedings will be able to file their motions with ICE requesting prosecutorial discretion soon.